The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum

The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum
Please be advised that for your safety you must exit this blog on foot, calmly and quickly.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Miller High Life is the new Pabst Blue Ribbon

A friend of mine recently observed that bars in big cities tend to abundantly stock one cheap, yet generally agreeable beer.  He generically calls this beer the "hipster beer," as it's popularity is seemingly fueled by self conscious trendsters who drink it out of some sense of irony or a search for "authenticity."  Usually these beers are old standbys that your grandfather along with generations of blue collar workers enjoyed.

A night at the movies

Last night I had a great time with the guys at Astoria Indies, the "new home of indie film in Queens."  They have recently started screening independent films on Thursday nights at Astoria's Bohemian Hall,  home of the famous "beer garden."  Last night's cinematic masterpiece was The Room, starring, executive produced, written, and directed by the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Food Review: MexiPepsi

In a previous posting, I wrote about one of my recent food passions, Mexican Coca Cola.  I share this passion with foodies, who insist that the formula used for Mexican Coke has a "pure" taste as compared to the domestic version.  I'm no food snob, but I know delicious when I come across it.  The secret is High Fructose Corn Syrup (or the lack thereof).  The Mexican bottlers still use real cane sugar.  You know how they say everything comes back to politics?  Well we use High Fructose in our sodas because of policy mandates.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Need to know how to act on a date? Look no further than Coronet Instructional Films

Want to learn the secret to popularity?  At a loss for ideas for your next date?  Does basic hygiene elude your grasp?  Ever wonder why capitalism is superior to other economic systems?  Need info on how to conform to the mind numbing social norms of the middle of the last century?  And most importantly, do you have a stomach strong enough for a huge dose of post-war kitsch?  Then Coronet Instructional Films has something that you've just got to watch.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What is that infernal racket?

Imagine living with a persistent low noise sort of like the idling of a distant diesel engine.  Its source is a mystery, and no one else around you can hear it.  Ear plugs do nothing to diminish it.  It sometimes disrupts your sleep and brings on chronic headaches and nosebleeds.  This is the reality for those who are able to perceive a phenomenon known as "The Hum."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hitler's got 99 problems

I am usually pretty up on the latest internet memes, but somehow I missed out on this hilarious little nugget.  In 2004, a German film was released called Der Untergang.  It dealt with the collapse of Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich.  Pretty heavy topic, at least at face value.  In the film, there is a scene in which Hitler is given some bad military news by several of his officers.  Predictably, he is not pleased.

Some fun folks on the internet have re-appropriated the scene by changing the subtitle "translations."  I have watched a few of these and can't stop laughing.  Here is one of my favorites:

Sucks to have your party ruined like that, right?  Of course, Hitler is also up on current events:

There are many more of these posted to YouTube, and some of them are pretty funny.  Hitler weighs in on everything from his craving for Burger King to Ussain Bolt's world record.  It never ceases to amaze me where people can find levity.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An Anthrax Island Whodunnit?

A tip of the hat goes to Liz for the idea for this posting.  Just off of my native Long Island lies the mysterious Plum Island.  Originally known by Dutch and other European settlers as "Plumb Island," it is the site of a quaint, historic lighthouse on the site of a light originally built at the order of George Washington.  On August 11, 1775, the island became the site of the first amphibious assault by the American military, when 120 hapless revolutionary soldiers were turned away after exchanging a single volley with British regulars.  Does this small island, which would otherwise be a historical footnote, hold some dark secrets?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Nothing But the Tooth

Happy MLK Day to those of you who have off or are otherwise observing.  I celebrated the day by having two of my wisdom teeth extracted.  Up until recently, I used to say that they could have my teeth when they killed me.  However, my dentist told me that one of the teeth, which was impacted, was showing signs of decay.  I didn't want to allow a minor problem now to become a major one later on.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream. I sailed Away to China...

I had the strangest dream last night.  Actually, it's my second strangest dream.  My strangest dream is one in which I dreamed I had three movies out from a rental place and only time enough to watch two before the place was set to close and I would incur late fees.  I woke up in a slight panic because of this.  But I had no rented movies in reality.  True story.  In this other strange dream, I watched an early to mid 1990s Arnold Schwarzenegger film I am fairly certain does not actually exist.  The setting of the dream was a bedroom I used to live in years ago.  I was going through my TV cart looking at all my old VHS tapes.  And that is when I found it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Are we headed towards a cashless society?

Back in college, I recall an economics professor making an argument in favor of a cashless society.  If all debits and credits were processed electronically, the argument went, there would be zero possibility for tax cheating.  As an added benefit, it would be almost impossible for criminal organizations and terrorists to launder money.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's the year 2010. Where is my rocket car?

What year is it?  For many people, we recently celebrated the auspicious start of the year two-thousand-and-ten.  But for me, this is twenty-ten.  Sounds more futuristic that way.  So, where is my self propelled rocket car, and the other technologies we were promised at the middle of the last century by industrial giants such as General Motors?  Perhaps given the recent financial crisis, it's lucky that there remains a General Motors at all.  Still, it's hard to abandon the romantic notion of a future that remains in the past.  That sentence was trippy, am I right?

Viewers in need of a real trip should take a look at the 1956 musical short "Design for Dreaming," which was brought to us by the good people at General Motors and Frigidaire.  In it, a sleeping woman is escorted by a masked man to an elegant ball (actually the 1956 General Motors Motorama pavilion at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.  She also tries her hand at baking a cake in Frigidaire's kitchen of the future.  Like all good corporate sponsored musical short films, the dialogue is entirely sung, rather than spoken.

The same was brilliantly lampooned by the cult television show Mystery Science Theatre: Three Thousand.  You must watch the real one first to get the full benefit.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"The Omega Man" and "I am Legend": A comparison

This past weekend, my darling wife felt like watching the 2007 film adaptation of Richard Matheson's classic 1954 sci-fi horror novel, I Am Legend.  Unfortunately, it wasn't available on Netflix's instant streaming service.  Being a bad movie buff, I already had the 1971 version, The Omega Man, in my instant queue.  So we were forced to resort to that version.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Netflix Bandits Foiled by My Questionable Taste

The latest disc from my Netflix queue arrived today.  As you will see from the picture, some enterprising pirate at the post office or elsewhere tore the envelope flap aside to see if my movie was worth plundering.  In this case, my questionable taste was a virtue.  When the would-be thief saw that the envelope contained the 1984 Patrick Swayze vehicle "Red Dawn," he let the disc continue on its way unmolested.  For those of you who are curious, "Red Dawn" is about a team of teenagers who fight off a covert Soviet invasion in a small heartland town.

While Swayze was in plenty of "good" movies that showcased his competence as an actor, he is loved and remembered by people like me for such cinematic gems as "Road House" and "Point Break."  I close with the words of Swayze's character in the latter film, Bodhi: "If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It's not tragic to die doing what you love."  You are missed, Patrick.  Though apparently not by Netflix thieves.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Television Review: Apocalypse Man

Have you ever wondered how you would survive in the event of the complete and total breakdown of societal order?  Curious as to where you'd find food, power, and information in the event of an apocalyptic event?  Has the History Channel got a show for you.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Food Review: Queso de Freir

Our local supermarket, Key Foods, stocks a full supply of cheeses from a company called Tropical Cheese. They seemingly cater to the Latino market, promising would-be purchasers "authentic Latino flavor." For years now, I have been intrigued by a product called "queso de freir" which literally translates to "cheese for frying" or colloquially, "this is not health food, but damn it's good!" It wasn't until yesterday that I purchased a brick of this mystery cheese.